On Wednesday, the Tripura Police registered a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the members of a fact-finding team after the rights groups visited the sites of anti-Muslim violence in the state and released a report on the “targeted attacks on Muslims in Tripura”, Maktoob Media reported.
The team consisted of Supreme Court lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi, Advocate Amit Srivastav from Lawyers for Democracy, Advocate Ansar Indori of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO), and Advocate Mukesh, on behalf of the Civil Rights Organization People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
A notice sent by the West Agartala police station, under Section 41 of the CrPC, informed Ansar Indori of the NCHRO of the case registered against him under the draconian UAPA.
A similar notice has been sent to other lawyers part of a recent fact-finding team to Tripura.
The team had released their findings on the anti-Muslim violence in Tripura, at Delhi’s Press Club on Tuesday.
They are asked to delete "fabricated & false" statements& appear before 10/11 pic.twitter.com/rrTDfcSRUX
— Samriddhi K Sakunia (@Samriddhi0809) November 3, 2021
The case under sections IPC and UAPA has been registered at West Agartala Police Station “against the social media posts circulated by you/statements made by you for promoting enmity between religious groups as well as provoking the people of different religious communities to cause beach of peace,” according to the notice.
The charges registered under IPC are sections 153-A and B ( Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming information), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 ( (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The notice further states that “during the investigation, your involvement has been found in connection with the case. As such, there are reasonable grounds to question you to ascertain the facts and circumstances relating to the case”.
The UAPA notices asked the lawyers to “immediately delete these fabricated and false statements/comments made/circulated by them on the social media”, further directing them to appear before the West Agartala Police Station by 10 November.
However, the Tripura Police on Wednesday said it has filed five criminal cases against 71 people over allegedly provocative and fake posts on social media.
A senior Tripura police officer has told the PTI news agency that the cases were filed for allegedly spreading rumours on social media, related to the recent anti-Muslim incidents in Tripura.
Tripura’s BJP government and the state police have claimed that there was no law and order problem in the state and no mosques were burnt by Hindutva groups despite several media outlets reported that several anti-Muslim crimes took place across the northeast state.
'All India Lawyer's Association For Justice' stands in support of the members of #Tripura_Fact_Finding team accused by Tripura Police under UAPA. "These intimidation tactics used by the Police aren't new, & have come to be the de facto way in which the police function",@AilajHq + pic.twitter.com/AMzzxmlzYU
— Akhlad khan (@BawaNaaved) November 3, 2021
“It was a targeted violence against Muslims,” says a group of Supreme Court lawyers who carried out a fact-finding visit to Tripura.
During four-day-long violence against Muslims, 12 mosques, nine shops, and three houses belonging to Muslims were targeted, according to the fact-finding team.
During the rallies, Hindutva mobs raised slogans insulting Prophet Muhammad and the copies of the Holy Quran were burnt by Hindu extremists while attacking mosques and Muslim houses, the report found.
JCBs and bulldozers were seen in the rallies, local villagers told the fact-finding team.